Meet RikkiJ, the SketchyPath Narrator

We have a real treat for The Sketchbook today! RikkiJ is the SketchyPath narrator, and the newest addition to our SketchyMedical family.  We were able to catch her in between SketchyPath (Part 2) recording sessions to talk about what goes on behind the scenes in the studio!

sketchymicro sketchypath narrator

Please introduce yourself to our SketchyPath users:

Hello, my name is RikkiJ and I am your SketchyPath narrator!

I was born and raised in Denver, Colorado – where life is measured in the number of resorts on your ski pass, how many craft breweries you’ve visited, or the density of your beard.

I love science, especially biology; in college I studied biology, chemistry, and science education.
Otherwise, I have a penchant for spontaneous activities, doesn’t even really matter much what — random day hikes, last minute road trips, maybe even an impromptu Sketchy themed party. I’d dress up as a Sketchy narrator. Andrew Berg. Duh.

What led you to become the SketchyPath narrator?

I used SketchyMicro in the medical laboratory science program I was in, and thought it was amazing. I would get (probably an unhealthy level of) excited when there was a video that covered a microbe we needed to know. Once I saw the “Recruitment” opportunity on the website, I applied immediately. Initially, I was working on content remotely, collaborating with the team through Google Hangouts and Trello boards. After about a month, Bryan (the co-founder) slyly asked if I would be interested in narrating a video. We had a brief conversation about Morgan Freeman, naturally, then I sent a short audition clip. Then BOOM. Los Angeles. Hollywood. SketchyPath narrator.

What is it like behind the scenes in the recording studio?

It’s a lot of what you’d expect…like, uhhh, speaking into a mic, fancy technology, and soundproofing all over. And then some stuff you wouldn’t, like being next to a shelving unit full of random knickknacks such as a Steve Urkel candle, a roarasaurus dinosaur toy, and a basket of horror movie Blu-rays that I won playing drag queen bingo.

What was your favorite SketchyPath sketch to record, and why?

Ah! It’s so hard to choose! I really liked a lot of the renal pathology videos; partially because I have always had a soft spot for kidney physiology. Loop of Henle, AMIRITE?! The chronic kidney disease sketch is definitely one of my favorites. So many references to Jurassic Park, lots of clever symbols, and getting to sing the Jurassic Park theme song in a series of “dun”s was pretty awesome.  Or embarrassing. Or better yet, a combo of the two.

What are some challenges to narrating?

Enunciating and still trying to sound casual. Also, consciously changing my pronunciation of words. For example, before I became SketchyPath narrator, I never pronounced the “t” at the end of words; like instead of “treatment” I would say “treatmen.” Silent t’s everywhere! It works well for tsunami, why not other words? Oh, here’s why not — it sounds ridiculous.  As the SketchyPath narrator, I have become so much more aware of my pronunciation and enunciation in general.

sketchypath download

How long does it take to complete a SketchyPath narration?

This probably isn’t going to blow anyone’s mind, but it really depends on the length of the script/sketch. At first, it would take me an entire day to finish one recording. I’ve gotten faster with more practice and as I ease into the role. I would say it typically takes 5 or 6X longer to record the audio track than the length of the video. I imagine I’ll keep improving my time. And hopefully make a montage of the process to “Eye of the Tiger” once I’ve peaked.

Is there a method to the narration pacing? How do you determine the pace of each narration?

I always check how long the script is right when I first get it. I break the script up and allot a certain amount of time per section (i.e. ~10 paragraphs per section, depending on how long they are); this is really helpful to keep me on task because I can be a perfectionist and it becomes really inefficient otherwise.

How closely do you work with the SketchyPath writers and creators?

They’re right outside my recording studio (they literally sit right in front of the studio)! Which is really nice, because I can barrage them with questions along the way. We usually work together in the form of Google Docs. For instance, Aaron (the Director of Content & Creative) will write in notes on how to read the narrations, or leave me notes about certain stories, or even where I should stop recording while the team works on subsequent sections. I think my favorite was: “Hey Rikki you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind….stop reading, hey hey, stop reading!”

Do you have any fun SketchyPath recording/narration stories you can share with us?

When I first started recording SketchyPath, I came in on a Saturday, but had gone out to a show with my friends the night before. Some of my friends were wearing thick glitter around their eyes and green lipstick. Needless to say, I wanted in on that.

Anyway, I accidentally left my keys locked in my apartment and had to wait until the next day for my roommate to let me in, so I just stayed at a friend’s until I went into the studio Saturday morning – but I couldn’t really change and never took off the makeup. I texted Bryan before going in saying, “Just so you know, I’m gonna look like Aquaman.” Bryan and Aaron referred to me as Aquaman the rest of the day and kept referencing other sea characters and places, like Atlantis, or other general sea-themed things. Maybe you had to be there, but I thought it was pretty hilarious.

Another shining (not actually) moment was when Aaron wrote directions in the asthma script for me to “pretend like I was talking with my mouth full from eating fruit.” I can’t PRETEND that! So I shoved half my lunch in my mouth and tried to talk. It was really hard not to laugh through it, which just made it harder. So yeah, if at any point you were like, “Oh, she’s not half bad at that.”  No. I’m just gross.

What’s the best part of being part of the SketchyMedical family?

There’s so many awesome things about working at Sketchy! The office pets, the endless supply of gushers. The daily obscure 90s references.

The real best part of being a part of the Sketchy family is working with such a dedicated team. Everyone is truly passionate about the product and students, and really care about the quality of what we do and the timeline for when it’s produced. For instance, everyone really buckled down for the launch of SketchyPath (Part 1). Everyone pulled late nights, early mornings, weekends, you get it, so that we could roll out the first part of SketchyPath asap for the May and June Steppers. Everyone was willing to make the extra effort so that students had as much time as possible with the videos to use them for STEP 1 studying. I am just really proud to be a part of it.

sketchymedical narrator

What’s in store for SketchyPath (Part 2)? Can you give us any hints?

A lady never tells… but you might see some baby Yetis, Easter bunnies, and an island luau.

Any final thoughts?

I feel so fortunate to work for such an incredibly innovative and progressive company like Sketchy. I think many parts of higher education are an absolute travesty (pretty sure everyone who has taken even one college class could happily go the rest of their lives without ever seeing another PowerPoint presentation). I really hope students love SketchyPath as much as we do.

And also.. who is Braden?!

RikkiJ, thank you so much for taking the time out of recording to chat with us!

PS: we would love your feedback on SketchyPath (Part 1)!

A Day in the Life of a Podiatric Medicine Student

Our guest blogger today is Braden, a Podiatric medicine student!  He’s here to share his experiences studying medicine from a podiatry perspective.

a day in the life of a podiatry student

Hello, my name is Braden and I am currently a second year Podiatry student. I hope that I can help those of you reading this come to know what it is like to be a Podiatric Medical Student

I’d like to lay some ground-work to help those out there who may have never heard of Podiatry.

braden jenkins

 “What is Podiatry?”

Not to be confused with pediatrics, podiatric medicine is a specialized branch of medicine devoted to the study, diagnosis, and medical and surgical treatment of disorders of the foot, ankle and lower extremity. Podiatrists are uniquely qualified among medical professionals to treat diseases of the foot and ankle. Whether it is surgery, sports medicine, pediatrics, dermatology, wound care, biomechanics or diabetes, today’s podiatrist can treat the many diverse facets of foot care. Podiatrists can be the first to identify systemic diseases in patients, such as diabetes and vascular disease.

Today’s podiatrists:

  • Perform surgery
  • Perform reconstructive and microsurgeries
  • Administer sedation and anesthetics
  • Perform complete medical histories and physical examinations
  • Prescribe medications
  • Set fractures and treat sports-related injuries
  • Prescribe and fit orthotics, insoles, casts and prosthetics
  • Order and perform physical therapy
  • Take and interpret X-rays, ultrasound, MRI’s and other imaging studies
  • Work as valued members of a community’s health care team

“What are the qualifications of a Podiatrist?”

Doctors of podiatric medicine receive medical education and training in podiatric medical colleges, including four years of graduate education at one of nine podiatric medical colleges (at least within the U.S.) and three years of hospital-based residency and surgical training. All podiatric physicians and surgeons receive a DPM degree.

“How is Podiatry (D.P.M.) Different from M.D. and D.O.?”

There are many differences between the various doctorate degrees and their respected capacities, but I’d like to focus on the fundamentals. Like most other medical schools, the first two years of podiatry school are dedicated to the basic sciences of medicine, followed by a board exam (part 1) in the summer after your second year. In fact, there are a number of Universities where the podiatry students and D.O. students take the same fundamental science courses for the first two years until they both take their respected board exams. Outside of the basic sciences, podiatry students take a number of field specific classes, such as: Lower Extremity Anatomy (being the biggest), Lower Extremity Physical Diagnosis, Radiology, Biomechanics, and Podiatric Medicine and Surgery.

The other big difference is our board exams. After the first two years of medical school, instead of the USMLE or COMLEX, we take the APMLE Part 1 (American Podiatric Medical Licensing Exam). The biggest difference between the exams is the emphasis on Lower Extremity Anatomy (for obvious reasons) and unlike the USMLE Step 1, there is no behavioral science section.

The APMLE Part 1 exam samples seven basic science disciplines:

  • Lower Extremity Anatomy (25%)
  • Microbiology & Immunology (15%)
  • Pharmacology (15%)
  • General Anatomy (13%)
  • Physiology (13%)
  • Pathology (12%)
  • Biochemistry (7%)


Currently, I am half way through my 2nd year at Kent State University, College of Podiatric Medicine in Independence, Ohio. Our beautiful campus is about 10 miles outside of Cleveland on a 27-acre location that cultivates an excellent learning environment. Our facilities are extremely nice and I feel blessed to have this opportunity to become a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine.

kent state college of podiatric medicine

I am originally from Idaho Falls, Idaho, and I have been married to my beautiful wife for almost 5 years and we have two beautiful children, ages 3 and 1. There are many reasons why I chose to go into medicine and into podiatry specifically, but my wife and kids are my number one reason. They are my driving force and motivation to keep doing my best in school and to better myself as a father, husband and future physician. I could not be doing this without them.

Growing up, my mom was the head surgical nurse for a local Podiatrist, so whenever I got the chance, I would shadow him in surgery. Throughout the many years shadowing him in his office and in surgery, I have grown to love the profession and it is through these experiences that I chose to go into Podiatry.

A Day in the Life of a Podiatric Medicine Student


For some, living in Ohio can be a nightmare with all of the snow and trying to get to school on time with the slick roads in the winter but for me, I’m used to cold and snow.  I should probably be a little more grateful for my 10-minute commute to school every day but even still, the traffic is the biggest thing that gets on my nerves. Being winter time, it’s still dark outside when I leave home and sometimes I start to wonder if the sun really exists anymore.

I try to get to school around 7:00am every day to study for an hour before classes start at 8:00. I’ll use this time to catch up on my course material if needed, but mostly I use it to study for boards with SketchyMedical and First Aid. If I have Pharmacology that day, I’ll watch the SketchyPharm video that goes along with our lecture. If I have Pathology that day, I’ll watch a Pathoma video that coincides with the day’s lecture and look over the daily case problem that we will be presenting; our professor likes to pimp you at random so it’s always best to be prepared (this was before SketchyPath).


After Pathology, we dive into my favorite class: Podiatric Surgery. This introductory course is to provide us with a broad foundation of general knowledge for perioperative management and core surgical principles necessary to secure residency training and become successful podiatrists. Though my experiences, I have learned that the field of surgery involves much more than the technical aspects of “cutting and repairing” tissues. As podiatric students, we must have a thorough understanding of the principles of tissue repair and normal healing so that we can appreciate abnormalities in repair. On top of that, we must also understand the technical factors, which will aid in normal repair, and how to diagnose and treat complications. Lastly, podiatric students must appreciate the protocols required in treating surgical patients in a myriad of settings in today’s rapidly changing healthcare environment.

In our Pod-Med Skills Lab, we get to take a hands-on approach to all the things that we have been learning in our class including: padding for plantar lesions, taping, splinting, treating verrucae, debridement, local anesthetic injections, Doppler ultrasound technique, bio-mechanical evaluations, and casting. I think that it is important to stay focused on the genuine nature of our profession throughout our schooling as to avoid being sucked into the rigors of the basic sciences and I feel that our Pod Med class helps to keep us aware of the bigger picture and ultimate goal at hand. Our rotations through the clinic also adds to this.


After Pod-Med Skills Lab, I will head down to help out as a TA in the cadaver lab where the 1st year students are learning Lower Extremity Anatomy. Each student and their lab partner are responsible for performing their dissections properly in order to learn the anatomy in a practical and tangible setting. The lower anatomy course exams are split into a lecture exam and lab exam so my main focus as a TA is to make sure the 1st year students can relate what they are learning in lecture to the actual structures on the body. Sometimes this means helping with dissections or identifying structures on their body that are difficult to find. This helps me stay sharp on my Lower Anatomy knowledge, which makes up the largest section of our board exams (which I will be taking in July).

podiatric surgery class


After TA-ing, I usually have a Pharmacology or Radiology class.


After classes are over for the day, I’ll spend the next few hours reviewing the day’s material and making flashcards of the most high-yield concepts. If I get that done, I’ll continue studying for boards until about 5:30-6:00pm. Once I reach a good stopping point and all of my daily tasks and goals have been accomplished, I’ll either head to the gym or attend the occasional skills workshops that the various clubs on campus put on. These workshops allow you to explore your interests further, learn new skills, and/or practice ones you’ve already learned. For example, the Surgery club puts on suturing, tendon repair and bone saw workshops.

Around this time of the year, as I leave campus and head for home, the sun will have already set, adding to the fact that the majority of my outdoor exposure in in the dark.


As any medical student with a family knows, it can be extremely difficult to be away from your spouse and kids for so long, so that is why arriving home is the best part of my day. As I walk through the door, I’m welcomed by two very excited kids who want nothing else but for me to pick them up and then play with them or read a book. My amazing wife has already started making dinner and she gives me a hug and a kiss as she asks about my day. I honestly don’t know how she handles both kids all day and does everything that she does for our home and family; she truly is my inspiration. While playing with our kids, I’ll ask our 3-year-old son how his day was and what kinds of things he did and enjoy listening to his numerous stories and adventures. After dinner, the kids take baths and get in their pajamas and we normally head downstairs to play games or watch a movie as a family until bedtime. However small or limited they may seem at times, these are the moments that keep me going throughout the day. Everybody has their “why”, their “why are you doing this”, their reason for striving for success and mine is in the form of these three beautiful people.


After everyone’s in bed, I set an alarm for the morning and lie there reflecting on what needs to be done in the morning and how I’m going to get it done. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed with everything on my plate: my family, classes, my studies, exams and now boards in July. It can be stressful at times but somehow, with the help of my friends and family, I get through it all to move on to the next day. Being a medical student of any kind definitely is not for everyone but I am truly lucky to have such wonderful opportunities and I am grateful for the life that I live. And to think that I get to do it all again in the morning.

medical school family

The Sunday Spin: Avoiding medical school burnout

medical school residency burnout

The Sunday Spin, Episode 8: “Rivers and Roads”

The Self-Titled Debut Album by The Head and the Heart

For context, this week’s Spin is coming directly from the passenger seat of a sports utility vehicle. I’m sitting next to Donny, my childhood buddy, as we roam the Pacific Northwest…

This trek marks an almost four-year anniversary since we first made the journey to Portland, Oregon, catching an impromptu firework display and an energetic performance by a French Electronic-Pop duo called Stereo Total. The trip could not have come at a better time! Scheduled right after my USMLE Step 1 Exam, it was the fun and regenerative excursion I needed. Not only was the trip memorable, but it also generated a fervor for travel deep within my bones.

Prior to our adventure, my vacations had consisted of study binges and family road-trips laden with crisis. By the time I reached college, I would avoid breaks like the plague. I became intimately acquainted with the 24-hour reading room at Shields’ Library, getting “Lost In My Mind” instead of enjoying life…

Don’t get me wrong, I love studying as much as the next “type A” personality, but there comes a point when your productivity tanks and work becomes futile.

How do you avoid this diminishing margin of return and inevitable “burnout?”

Well, you can do what I did and push through it, spiraling further into exhaustion o Or, you can capitalize upon my mistakes and heed this simple advice: “Take time for yourself.”

At face value, this seems easy! Of course, I’m going to take care of myself, sleep well, eat right, and exercise… Sure! Let me know how that’s working for you. If you are anything like me (heaven forbid), you find it hard to put yourself before the books and before others. Sadly, as medical professionals, we are faced with endless tasks and demands. And until you learn to let go, you are going to drown in the workload.

Unfortunately, I learned this sad truth rather late in my “academic career”…

I know. It feels selfish to go on an enjoyable vacation or even to take the time to exercise or go shopping instead of studying. Don’t be plexin’ (worrying) because here’s a dirty little secret: unless you skip studying and working altogether, you’re probably going to do just fine!

I’m sure what I am saying is nothing new, we are reminded frequently by our mentors to “Stop and smell the roses.” However, an extra reminder doesn’t hurt…

You have to be proactive about your health and vacations, otherwise “burnout” will creep in like mold on that loaf of sourdough bread sitting on my counter, which my roommate and I are passively avoiding throwing out (little does he know, I once kept a tortilla so long that it looked more like an avocado than compressed flour by the end).

So, get out there and have some fun! Especially those of you on the cusp of taking your USMLE Examinations!

Here is some tune-age to accompany your adventures, courtesy of The Head and the Heart.

medical school burnout

Forged in Seattle, Washington, The Head and the Heart was a conglomeration of transplants that met via local open mic nights. Their songs were simple. Filled with beautiful harmonies tied together by an acoustic guitar, garnished with the tinkling of ivories or swells of violin strings. They cultivated a rustic tone that could only be harvested in the Pacific Northwest or the “Drrrty South.”

The Head and the Heart was quickly be signed to Sub Pop Records after producing the single “Down In The Valley in 2009. The band promoted themselves by selling burned copies of  “Down in the Vally” wrapped in a homemade denim sleeve (much classier than Alice Cooper’s album, School’s Out for Summer, which featured an inner sleeve shaped like panties). Demand for the denim adorned discs outgrew the supply, as The Head and the Heart opened for bands such as Vampire Weekend, Death Cab for Cutie, My Morning Jacket, The Decemberists, and Iron and Wine. And the band would complete their album and release it in 2011.

The Head and the Heart’s debut self-titled album is a masterpiece with songs craftily sewn together, opening brightly with “Cats and Dogs” which abruptly morphs into “Couer d’Alene.” The ebb and flow of energy within this album is incredible.  The melodic drone of “Down in the Valley,” “Rivers and Roads,” and “Heaven Go Easy on Me” juxtapose nicely with pulsating breakdowns that get your toes tappin’ and hands clappin’.

Specifically, “Rivers and Roads” invokes an element of nostalgia that brings me back to medical school. I can’t help but think of my classmates and ponder how they are doing at their respective residencies scattered across the United States.  My favorite single off the album has to be “Lost in My Mind,” a jubilant song of encouragement, reminding us to care for our brethren. An important message, needed now more than ever!

Whether it be raining “Cats and Dogs,” snowing “Down in the Valley,” or sunny along your “Rivers and Roads,” get out there and explore!



Everything you need to know about SketchyPath


SketchyPath is coming!  Our doctors and medical school students have been working around the clock to create our new pathology course, and Part 1 is now ready!  We wanted to make sure May and June Steppers get at least some part of SketchyPath before their USMLE Step 1 test, so we are releasing Part 1 first.  The rest of SketchyPath will be released Fall 2017.  Part 1 arrives Wednesday, March 29!

Here are the official details:


  • 30+ fun, informative video sketches on Pathology
  • 600+ minutes of entertaining medical education
  • A slew of new characters, existing symbols, and way too many puns!


  • SketchyPath Part 1 will be available starting Wednesday, March 29
  • You can pre-purchase SketchyPath Part 1 on SketchyMedical starting today (all pre-purchased subscriptions will begin on March 29, when the new pathology course officially launches)


  • SketchyPath Part 1 will be grandfathered into our existing SketchyMedical bundle subscription.  So if you currently subscribe to the SketchyMedical bundle, then you will automatically get SketchyPath Part 1 for FREE!  You don’t need to do anything, and you will automatically be able to view the new pathology course when you log into your SketchyMedical account on March 29.
  • SketchyPath (Part 1) is available now at $29.99 for each 6-month subscription.  You can pre-order now, and your subscription will start on March 29.
  • If you currently subscribe to just SketchyMicro or SketchyPharm, you will be able to purchase SketchyPath (Part 10 for only $19.99 for a 6-month subscription!  Just log into your existing SketchyMedical account and you will automatically see the option to purchase it at the discounted price.

If you have any other questions, please leave a comment below or reach out on Facebook.

Get ready!

USMLE Step 1 Study Plan

Travis is a MS2 student and SketchyMedical user, and getting ready for his USMLE Step 1! We will be following along on his journey and USMLE Step 1 journal as he prepares for the big day.  He studies at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Check out his first post here, and read on for his USMLE Step 1 study plan.

usmle step 1 study guide

Since my last post, I have taken my last module final of pre-clinicals, passed the Comprehensive Basic Sciences Exam given by my school, shadowed a crazy awesome family physician who I really admire, and took a nice, week long break to enjoy my personal life – taking time to visit family and work on our garden. It’s been very nice. I feel recharged and ready to do some serious studying for the USMLE Step 1. In my last post, I promised more details about my USMLE Step 1 study plan. Here we go!

My USMLE Step 1 Study Plan:

From February 27 to April 27, I have 8 and a half weeks before D-Day. I will spend 5 of those days on a vacation with my wife. I also plan to spend most of my weekends living life and maintaining a work/life balance. So when I refer to weeks I will be referring to weekdays. That being said, I’ll be doing the occasional 3-hour SketchyMedical session on the weekends to help me get through SketchyPharm, and also to review SketchyMicro (fairly early) in my 8-week study period.

I will spend the first three out of eight weeks zooming through First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 one section at a time. These will be my “First Aid Weeks”. I am not trying to memorize everything in First Aid during this time. My goals are to get a big picture look at what topics I can expect to see on the exam and refresh my memory a bit on subjects I have not seen in several months.

During the last five weeks of my dedicated study time, I will be doing UWorld questions everyday and referring back to First Aid as needed. These will be my “UWorld Weeks.” This is really the most crucial part of my study plan. My First Aid Weeks will set my framework of knowledge, and my UWorld Weeks will solidify that framework and flesh it out. In general, I plan to spend about 6-7 hours per day studying (from about 7:30 AM – 3:30 PM with an hour of extra time thrown in there for lunch and exercise). In the afternoons I plan to tutor my cousin in math, do some chores around the house, and possibly work on my Spanish. That last part might be too ambitious, but my limited clinical experience so far has definitely shown me that some Spanish proficiency would be unbelievably helpful for the future.

usmle step 1 study plan guide schedule
Details about my First Aid Weeks: You can see what subjects I will be focusing on each day in my calendar here

I’ve given myself a day for each section in First Aid with a couple exceptions:

  1.  I will not be spending a day on the Pharmacology or Microbiology sections of First Aid. Instead, I will get most of this information from SketchyMedical and use the First Aid sections as a reference while going through SketchyMicro and SketchyPharm.
  2. I have given myself 2 days each for Neurology and Hematology/Oncology because these were the most difficult modules for me. In general, I plan to power through the First Aid section for that day (most sections are about 20-40 pages), and then do a round of UWorld questions from that section to end the day.

usmle step 1 study plan guide schedule

Details about my UWorld Weeks: I’ve already done a couple hundred UWorld questions throughout the last year and a half. That leaves me with about 2250 questions remaining. With ~2250 questions left in UWorld, that is 57 blocks of 40 questions (40 is the maximum number of questions you can include in one practice test). If I use timed mode to keep things as much like the real test as possible, it will take me one hour to take each test. After that, if I review the correct answers (which is absolutely crucial!) for another one hour, I will use up a total of two hours per test. That is 114 hours to take and review 57 tests. Working six hours per day that will take me 19 days. If I work 5 days per week it will take me just under 4 weeks to get through UWorld once. That means that in my five weeks I’ll be able to get through UWorld one time for sure with some time at the end to go through some questions again. I have to admit, I’m concerned that it might take me more than an hour to review each block of questions. But even if I average something more like an hour and a half, I will be able to get through UWorld once in 4.75 weeks (I won’t force you to walk through the calculation a second time), which still fits my 5 week time frame.

A few additional notes:
• During my workouts I will be listening to Goljan. There are 37 hours of recordings here. He walks through the pathology in a really succinct way and is great about drawing connections between several subject areas.  Listen to it while you workout, drive, etc. Every little bit helps! Unfortunately, I won’t be able to take advantage of SketchyPath before my test date.
• After I’ve finished my First Aid weeks, I will spend 10 to 15 minutes each night before bed looking through the First Aid Rapid Review section. It is overwhelming to look at this section before you’ve completed all your modules, but it makes a lot more sense to me now than before, and as I refresh my memory going through the First Aid sections one at a time, I think the Rapid Review Section will make even more sense.
• I will be squeezing in SketchyMedical whenever I have the chance, including while I eat, do dishes, etc. I will also have some dedicated periods on the weekend that I end up watching Sketchy. I’m breaking it up like this because I don’t want to binge watch my way through the videos. I tried to do that with the viruses before my microbiology final and it all mushed itself together in my mind.

That’s my full battle plan for preparing for this big exam. Every single one of my classmates is doing something different. I probably spent about 2-3 hours building this plan, and I tried to be realistic with how much studying I could do in a day before getting totally overloaded or so distractible that studying is no longer worth it.

When you are building your study plan:

  • be realistic with yourself about what you can reasonably absorb in one day
  • prioritize your weakest subjects
  • and maintain some balance between studying and the rest of your life

Good luck, and I would love to hear your USMLE Step 1 study plan!